I am a bit of a lens geek and have some of the best portrait lenses ever made but do I really need them?
I thought would test out this out, using my Fujifilm X-H1 and Fujinon 18-55mm f/2.8-4R, which I bought with my X-E1 in 2014, for the pricely sum of £649 (plus a free 55-230mm f/4.5-6.7). Now I have a little bit of a confession, the Fujinon 18-55mm f/2.8-4R may be the best kit lens ever made but it is still a kit lens (even though you can buy the lens separately now days).
So most of my photography is studio based and I thought that as its 9pm, shooting in the studio would probably be best. I also was shooting with lights and had the lens stopped down to f/10, which is around my normal setting for shooting studio headshots. Fujinon 56mm and 90mm lens user’s maybe screaming at their screens right now saying this is completely unfair and they are right but for studio work I don’t need f/1.2 or f/2.
So above is the final image, shot with the X-H1 and 18-55mm, edited in Capture One Pro and finished off in Photoshop and it looks very good, easily high enough quality for me to use professionally.
So was there a real difference between the 18-55mm and a 56mm or 90mm? Yes, even at f/10, the 18-55mm isn’t as sharp as either of the prime lenses but really this isn’t much of an issue with portraiture, where sharpness can be your enemy, as much as being your friend. Saying that though, the sharpness isn’t bad, so no complaints from me.
So after seeing an edited image. I thought I would post an unedited image, just to show how the image came out of C1P as close to original as possible.
As you can see the image looks very good, with good skin tones and dynamic range.
So there you have it. If you have a kit lens, you can easily take professional portraits in a studio environment. Of course, photographers do not always shoot in a studio, so in another post I will do a shoot outdoors, where we may see a slightly different result, or will we?.
* So how good was the top black and white photo. I decided to put it into the Master Photographer Associations monthly critique and I got a highly commended.